Greenwich Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 6 - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Veronica Johnson  Email: veronica.johnson@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 5004

Note: Moved from 5 February 2019 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Committee.

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

2.

Urgent Business

The Chair to announce any items of urgent business circulated separately from the main agenda.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

3.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 41 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That the list of Councillors’ memberships as Council appointed representatives on outside bodies, joint committees and school governing bodies be noted.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 47 KB

Members are requested to confirm as an accurate record the Minutes of the meeting held on 17/18/19 December 2018.

 

No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved -

 

That the public and exempt minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 17, 18 and 19 December 2018 be agreed and signed as a true and accurate record.

5.

Budget and Council Tax Setting 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 209 KB

Overview and Scrutiny Committee is asked to:

 

1.1     Note the current financial position and progress in respect of the previously agreed budget efficiency premium (Section 4 and Section 5)

 

1.2     Note the impact of the local government finance settlement, finalised on 5 February 2019, upon the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) (Section 6)

 

1.3     Agree to submit comments to Cabinet on 20 February 2019 in respect of ongoing and one off expenditure proposals (Section 7)

 

1.4     Note the comments on financial standing, future risk and robustness of the budget process, including those specifically relating to the risk posed by the Fair Funding Review (Section 8 / Appendix A).

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair advised that members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee were being asked to submit comments on the report to the meeting of Cabinet being held the next day.  Unfortunately, the Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources was not able to attend due to ill health, but the Leader was happy to take questions from members of the Committee first and then they could discuss any comments they wished to make to the Cabinet meeting.

 

The Leader gave an introduction to the report and firstly thanked the Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources for all the work she had put into this.

 

He said that these were extremely challenging times and that in real terms there had been a reduction in government core funding of 63% since 2010.  At the same time the population in London had increased by just under one million.

 

The Leader advised that these were the most challenging set of finances he had seen since being a Member of the Council.  He had set up a Budget Recovery Board to try and reduce the impact on the budget but at the same time meet the ongoing challenges such as keeping the streets clean on a daily basis.  For the first time ever, he had no choice but to move money allocated for one-off expenditure – such as the £2m that had been set aside for council priorities.  All money had been passported for social care and winter pressures however.  Directors had also been asked to find over £2m worth of savings in their areas which would require some difficult decisions to be made.

 

He went on to say that although he did not like it, there was absolutely no alternative but to raise the Council Tax and he was unaware of any borough that was not doing the same.  Most, in fact, were putting in rises of over 2.75%.  The Mayor’s precept was also having to be increased to help fund the police.

 

There were three key areas that would be supported going forward and these were serious youth violence; support to those facing starting Universal Credit; and a small amount of resources would be given to help those unemployed return to work.

 

Public consultation had been undertaken although the figures had come through from government very late.  325 people had responded - the majority of whom supported the increase in Council Tax and agreed with what the Council suggested prioritising with resources.

 

The Chair thanked the Leader and agreed that whilst he did not like it either, he supported the proposal to increase the rate of Council Tax.

 

The Leader and officers then took questions and responded as follows:

·       It was correct that funding of the VOCU would now cease.  As stated, resources would now be put in to serious youth violence instead.

·       The Leader agreed that parking charges were not to be seen as a source of income but there were several areas in the borough where unlawful parking was a serious issue  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 45 KB

To consider upcoming decisions and determine any items for scrutiny.

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved

 

That the upcoming executive decisions set out in the Forward Plan for the period February 2019 – May 2019 (inclusive), as set out at Appendix 1, be noted.

 

 

 

7.

Commissioning Future Reports pdf icon PDF 36 KB

The Committee is asked to note the work items that are scheduled to be presented to the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 18 March 2019.

 

 

 

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That that the work items scheduled to be presented to the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 18 March 2019 be noted.

 

 

 

 

 

8.

GS Plus Ltd and GSS Ltd - Annual Reports and Review of Operating Models pdf icon PDF 28 KB

Overview and Scrutiny Committee is asked to consider and comment on the attached decision report and appendices to be put before Cabinet on 20 February 2019.

 

To note that any comments made by Overview and Scrutiny will be submitted to the Cabinet to be considered alongside the report.

 

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair then moved the meeting into Closed Session to discuss this item. 

 

This report contained three exempt appendices by virtue of paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended): - Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person including the authority holding that information.

 

 

 

 

9.

EXEMPT ITEMS

It is proposed that, pursuant to section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 and the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they may involve the disclosure of exempt information as defined in Schedule 12A of the Act, by virtue of the particular paragraph shown on the agenda and on the attached report.

 

·        Exempt appendices 3, 4 and 6 to GS Plus Ltd and GSS Ltd – Annual Reports and Review of Operating Models (Item 8)

Exempt by virtue of paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended): Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person including the authority holding that information.